Congress averts government shutdown... for now

Congress averts government shutdown... for now

"This is a waste of time", Pelosi said.

Alabama Republican Rep. Bradley Byrne, a member of the House Armed Services Committee who has been negotiating with GOP leadership, told USA TODAY he was pushing for a separate bill because military funding was one of the areas of bipartisan consensus.

The Republican leaders spoke of the need to help young immigrants brought into the country illegally as children, but also stressed the importance of addressing border security and other parts of "our broken immigration system". They have yet to say what they will do.

In response, Pelosi tweeted that Trump was "the only person talking about a government shutdown".

Negotiations are sure to be tricky.

In further indication of the problems GOP leaders face, 34 House Republicans sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., urging him to hold a vote by year's end on extending protections for hundreds of thousands of immigrants who arrived in the US illegally as children.

The immigrants are viewed sympathetically by the public and most lawmakers but face deportation in a few months because President Donald Trump reversed administrative protections provided to them by former President Barack Obama.

"I want to see Senate action, and I think they owe it to the House to show us those next steps".

If the conservative faction ultimately backs the package, it would likely seal the GOP's hopes of avoiding the need for a last-minute deal with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) or Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who could demand additional concessions to keep the government open.

"That would be very important to us", said Representative Mark Walker, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, the largest grouping of conservatives in the House.

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Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also say they hope to come to an agreement. Pelosi and Schumer left the White House without speaking to reporters.

"Until we get those assurances, we are just kicking a can down the road", said Republican Representative Andy Biggs, a member of the Freedom Caucus. He called keeping the government running "just basic governing".

The federal government was set for a partial shutdown at 12:01 a.m. Saturday.

The House is scheduled to vote Thursday on a bill that would fund the government through December 22 while lawmakers negotiate a longer spending bill. Conservatives had threatened to oppose the legislation.

Earlier Tuesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., declined to describe the status of internal GOP budget talks after House Republicans met privately to discuss their next steps.

The Freedom Caucus on Monday initially withheld votes on a motion to go to conference with the Senate on the two chambers' tax-reform bills to gain leverage over GOP leaders on the spending strategy.

The two Democrats said in a statement that nothing specific had been agreed at the meeting, which included a briefing from Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis about military issues. The Senate seemed ready to follow.

The government runs out of money at midnight Friday.

The two-week spending measure is aimed at giving both parties' bargainers more time to reach longer-term budget decisions.

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